Are we heading for a final Oligarch showdown between Kolomoysky and Poroshenko?
Via Sputnik News Agency…
The headquarters has been blocked by metal barriers, with about ten members belonging to an “unknown battalion” located inside the building, said Poroshenko Bloc MP Sergei Leshenko on his Facebook page.
“The Ukrnafta building on Nesterovskoye Lane is being barricaded with metal barriers…On the street are two members of an unknown battalion. Inside, through darkened windows another ten fighters of an unknown battalion are visible. The guards refuse to show their permit for the new fence,” Leshenko noted.
— Новости Украины (@Dbnmjr) March 22, 2015
— НОВОРОССИЯ (@NOVORUSSIA2015) March 22, 2015
Leshenko believes that “all of this is Kolomoisky’s reaction on the signing into law of the law on joint stock companies in reducing the quorum. Ukrnafta, now barricaded, has a government share of 50 percent plus one share, but now for the first time in 12 years it will be possible to ensure government management.”
Kolomoisky’s company Privat is reported to own 42 percent of the company’s shares. Prior to the signing of the law in the Rada, Privat shareholders were able to block the holding of shareholder meetings, which in turn complicated decision-making on the distribution of profits of the state-owned company and the paying of dividends to shareholders.
Ukrainian politician and former Dnepropetrovsk businessman Oleg Tsarev says that the political and economic conflict between the country’s oligarchs may turn into outright street warfare and a new Maidan. Photo: Ukrtransnafta following this week’s scuffle between Ukrainian authorities and Dnepropetrovsk oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.
Leshenko says that “it seems Kolomoisky hasn’t listened to the warnings he received from US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, who said that the time of the law of the jungle has passed. Well, what can be said? This will turn out bad for Kolomoisky –US security services can get at especially foolish [people] from anywhere in the world.”
Relations between Poroshenko and Kolomoisky deteriorated after the supervisory board of oil transport company Ukrtransnafta dismissed Alexander Lazorko, Kolomoisky’s protégé, as chairman of the board. On Friday, Kolomosyky, accompanied by armed guards, arrived at the Ukrtransnafta headquarters to defend the deposed Lazorko. Kolomoysky called his dismissal a corporate raid. He later left the building to meet with journalists, yelling and insulting them with profanities. The Ukrainian Rada has since demanded Kolomoisky’s resignation, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reprimanded him on Saturday for “a breach of professional ethics.”
US Ambassador, and de facto ruler of Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt is getting nervous.
Via Fort Russ Blog…
Several news reports indicate that the headquarters of Ukrnafta, the country’s largest oil extraction company, was taken over by Dnepr-1 battalion militants financed by Kolomoysky. This move comes after a similar take-over on Thursday of Ukrtransnafta, an oil transit company. What makes the most recent event all the more galling is that the HQ of the state-owned Ukrnafta is located in the center of Kiev.
Kolomoysky is only a minority shareholder in the enterprise. However, he was able to exercise de-facto control under rules which required 60% of shareholders’ approval for any reform to be implemented, until the Rada passed a bill which lowered that requirement to 50% + 1 share, which de-facto and de-jure returned control of Ukrnafta to the Ukrainian government. Kolomoysky evidently decided to challenge that ruling by reportedly barricading himself inside the building and using Dnepr-1 battalion to deny access. Some of the militants were seen carrying automatic weapons and were supported by an armored truck. Most recent reports indicated Dnepr-1 was welding steel barriers in place to secure the building, and that pro-Maidan Rada Deputy and journalist Mustafa Nayyim was beaten by Dnepr-1 militants when he questioned them.
Just to make things more interesting, Kolomoysky called for recognizing DPR and LPR as the de-facto authorities in Eastern Ukraine, in an apparent bid to prevent a two-front war against both Kiev and Novorossia. At the same time, Kolomoysky called for “financial federalization” of Ukraine, under which 90% of tax revenue would never leave the regions.
“Nationally conscious” Ukrainians don’t quite know what to make of all this yet–Kolomoysky was a hero to them, and here he is, turning his power to bear against the Ukrainian state.
Of course, all of this took place on Sunday. On Monday Poroshenko will have to decide what to do in response to Kolomoysky’s very busy day. Let’s not forget that in the Thursday showdown he was the first to blink, allowing Kolomoysky to retain control of Ukrtransnafta and only issuing a reprimand in response to his armed take-over of Ukrtransnafta. Moreover, just recently US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Pyatt lectured Kolomoysky on the unacceptability of “jungle law” approaches to political problems (funny how that was not a problem during the Maidan, eh?), a warning which Kolomoysky clearly ignored.
In the meantime, the junta is pretending nothing at all has happened. Minister of Interior Avakov insisted the folks in camouflage were part of a private security service hired by Ukrnafta, even though Ukrnafta representatives themselves were first to announce the gunmen were Dnepr-1. Incidentally, it’s unlikely a private security firm would be allow to tote Kalashnikovs.
Will Poroshenko back down again? Will Kolomoysky? Or will there be bloodshed in Kiev? And elsewhere?